Monday, June 3, 2024

The 3rd Battalion, 121st Infantry Regiment: Lineage and Legacy

 By Maj. William Carraway

Historian, Georgia Army National Guard


Left: The colors of the 121st Infantry Regiment's three battalions. Right:  Soldiers of the Company I, 3rd Battalion, 121st Infantry Regiment move down
the main road amid the ruins of Hurtgen, Germany Dec. 5, 1944. Photo 270805, National Archives Records Administration,


The Headquarters Company of the 3rd Battalion, 121st Infantry Regiment was federally recognized June 3, 2010 as Headquarters Company, 560th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade.[1] With the inactivation of the 560th BFSB, the company received its current designation.[2] While it carries on the lineage and honors of the 560th, the 3rd Battalion also recalls the history and legacy of the 121st Infantry Regiment.


Georgia National Guard Soldiers of 3rd Battalion 121st Infantry Regiment in 1939. Georgia National Guard Archives.

From 1917 to 1955, the 121st Infantry Regiment consisted of three infantry battalions. These battalions were deployed to the Mexican border in 1916, mobilized to France in both world wars and were part of the post-World War II reorganization of the Georgia National Guard in 1946. The battalions carried forward as armored infantry battalions and other units assigned to the 48th Armor Division from 1956 to 1968. With the loss of the 48th Armor Division in 1968, the 3rd Battalion was inactivated.


Soldiers of Company C, 3rd Battalion, 121st Infantry Regiment receive an operations order during the eXportable Combat Training Capability exercise
 at Fort Stewart, Ga. June 14, 2017. Photo by Capt. William Carraway.

For decades, the 121st Infantry consisted of the 1st and 2nd Battalion. It wasn’t until September 16, 2016 that the colors of all three battalions would once again assemble on the same field as the 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team entered into the associated unit pilot program with the 3rd Infantry Division.[3]


Command Sergeant Major Clint Cowser addresses Soldiers of the 3rd Battalion 121st Infantry Regiment  during the battalion’s change of command
and change of responsibility ceremony January 11, 2020 at the Clay National Guard Center in Marietta, Ga. Photo by Maj. William Carraway.

In 2018, the 121st Infantry Regiment deployed three battalions for the first time since World War II. The regiment mobilized with the 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team to Afghanistan where the 3rd Battalion worked with U.S. Special Forces and trained Afghan National Army Soldiers.

Georgia Army National Guard Soldiers from 3rd Battalion, 121st Infantry Regiment, maintain asecurity presence in Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta
while assisting local law enforcement during protest demonstrations May 30, 2020. Photo by Maj. William Carraway

Just months after their return from Afghanistan, Soldiers of the 3rd Battalion were activated in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and supported law enforcement in Atlanta in response to civil unrest. Soldiers of the 3rd Battalion provided security at Centennial Park during demonstrations in June 2020[4] and were again tasked to support security operations during the presidential inauguration in Washington D.C. in January 2021. 

The command team of the 48th IBCT visits Soldiers of the 3-121 in Tbilisi, Georgia for Exercise Agile Spirit 23. Photo courtesy of the 3-121.

Soldiers of the 3rd Battalion continued to support overseas operations, mobilizing to the country of Georgia in 2023 for Exercise Agile Spirit. In 2024, Soldiers of 3-121 mobilized with the 48th IBCT in support of missions in the Central Command area of operations. 


[1] OA 171-10 June 9, 2010 effective January 1, 2010.

[2] OA 545-15 January 8, 2016 effective September 1, 2016.

[3] William Carraway. “Georgia Army Guard Soldiers don 3rd ID patch as part of associated unit program.” September 19, 2016.

[4] William Carraway. “Eight Decades of Coordinated Domestic Response Operations: The Ga. DoD and GSP.” The Georgia Guardsman. Vol. 20, 2020, 6.

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